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Bill expands hate crimes, adds transgender persons

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CARSON CITY (AP) — Lawmakers are considering a measure to include transgender persons to the list of protected identities in Nevada’s hate crime statute.

Democratic Sen. Pat Spearman of North Las Vegas presented the measure, SB139, to the Senate judiciary committee Monday. The crowd spilled into an overflow room down the hall and featured no opponents to the bill.

The bill adds gender identity or expression to the list of race, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability and sexual orientation. If jurors find a crime was motivated by one of these qualifiers, the offender faces an additional charge carrying the possibility of 20 years in prison.

Spearman says increasing the severity of penalties for attacks on transgender persons will curb some of the often gruesome violence against people of that identity.

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